A Tree for Autism Speaks


Festival 2013

If you’ve read what I’ve written before about the wonderful work done by Autism Speaks, you know it’s an organization that’s close to my heart. Autism is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development.  One in 88 children per year are diagnosed with disorders on the Autism spectrum today, a forty fold increase in the last ten years. I’ve supported this organization through Light It Up Blue, have walked on Nantucket to raise money and awareness, and this year, have created a holiday tree to honor the families who struggle with this disorder, and to help bring attention to their search for a cure.

The tree is my contribution this year at The Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum Festival of Trees; I’ve participated in this event for years, and each holiday look forward to creating a new and original testament to the holiday.

The Autism Speaks tree is made from two interlocking puzzle pieces, the highly recognizable Autism Speaks logo, painted their signature blue. The tree inside the puzzle boasts 500 silver balls, a sparkling reminder of the children and families who deserve our support.


autism speaks elvesMy “elves” this year were my husband, Frank Fasanella, my dad, Bob, and my good friend Russ Valentine, visiting from Florence, Italy. We spent hours putting the tree together and getting every detail just right. I am so grateful for their help!

I hope if you’re on the island you stop by the museum and see all the beautiful trees. It’s such a special time of year on Nantucket!


A Special Thought for Christmas

Taking care of others at the holidays is something we all try to do. I’ve recently been inspired by a person I admire greatly. He and his wife recently re-evaluated their donations to charitable organizations, and decided to add to those contributions something more direct and personal. I was able to witness their new plan in action when we went out to dinner in Atlanta this fall. After leaving a generous tip on the bill, he called over the waitress, a single mom of two children, and gave her another twenty, just for her.

Their new way of giving includes overtipping cab drivers, porters, the room service people, on TOP of the service charge on the tab. Everyone who performs a personal service for them, everyone who crosses their path in a day.

I followed in this dear man’s footsteps this year, and have continued throughout the holiday season. If you have the means, and sometimes even when it’s a challenge, bumping up the amount you tip can make someone’s day. The smiles and appreciation are truly contagious.

Try it! The ten or twenty dollars doesn’t seem like much. But it makes a difference.

One thought on “A Tree for Autism Speaks

  1. Pingback: Walk Now, Act Now, for Autism Speaks | Holistic House

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